The evolution of coaching
When one enters into a coaching relationship, it’s rare that the client does not or will not take the discussion beyond the superficial. After all, the latter willingly seeks coaching in order to improve some aspect of their life, be it their relationships, their career, business problems and so on. In so doing, they will explore with the coach their strengths, their weaknesses and their personal resources in order to meet certain objectives which are set out in a pre-agreed coaching contract. Thus the client often tends to want to plunge deeply into exploring the boundaries of who they are and to push the limits of what is possible for themselves. So how deep and how far can the coach take this, and what resources are available?
A newly emerging field in coaching is that of ‘spiritual coaching’, or ‘awakening coaching’. This deliberately takes the coaching relationship and range of issues discussed down to the very core of the client’s awareness and purpose. It begins with the client’s deepest longings and uses coaching techniques to align these desires with their personal resources and qualities. The process then looks to reflect on strategies to integrate these into the lived experience, such as career, relationships or personal development.
The writer and broadcaster Arjuna Ardagh, defines awakening as, “…a shift in awareness when you taste reality outside the limiting confines of the mind. This is when you know yourself to be limitless, much bigger than, yet containing the body. Awakening allows us to move beyond limited beliefs and assumptions about reality and our life based on past experiences and memories and to fully experience what is actually unfolding in this moment.”
Awakening coaching seeks to release and realise all the ‘brilliances’ that are already present in the client. The unique combination of the client’s qualities when brought together form that person’s ‘genius’, or higher good. Realising this higher good is the ultimate fulfilment of one’s life here on planet earth. It is everything that the client was always meant to be. When this is grasped, the client is on the road to being the best possible version of themselves.
Thus awakening coaching can be seen to be a natural extension of and evolution of ‘regular’ coaching. This movement and knowledge isn’t confined solely to spiritual communities or religious traditions, either. Writers such as Stephen Pinker and Ken Wilber, coming from variously secular and spiritual-philosophical traditions, have identified that humankind is developing, evolving, moving from one stage of development and understanding to another.
Many of the techniques used in awakening coaching are similar to those used in other forms of coaching. However, in addition, tools such as meditation, mindfulness, visioning and daily practices are used. An example of these tools is one known as ‘radical release’ which, rather than resolving past hurts and patterns of behaviour, seeks instead to diminish the ‘frequency’ and thus overcome the resistance felt by the client to the external impulse or event. It is based upon the notion that distress is caused not by the event itself by the ego’s attempts to resist the event. Resistance is the root of much distress and avoidance strategies. Dissolving rather than resolving problems can thus be both a faster and a more effective technique.
The conscious shift made by the evolution towards Awakening Coaching is therefore built upon the most profound starting point – the awakened self and the client’s deepest longing. Everything begins from this place.
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